Will Pakistan emerge from the implosion - united or split?

Will Pakistan split in future due to current turmoil?


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I don't think Pakistan will break up anytime soon. The possibility is there but i think the Pak Army is disciplined enough to do anything to prevent its country from breaking up. When the time comes, they will unite and fight this menace.

I can never see Pakistan as a prosperous state, however. It will remain a rogue state, a menace to its neighbours and the world.

The only way to disintegrate it is with external force (India or US?). Too bad US is too busy trying to do the opposite at the moment. Thats bad news for us.
R u educated or is Mr bharat verma ur relative?Get real.

[mod]SSG Viper,

do not attempt hands at personal attacks, and nor do we encourage sms language in here, avoid both in future.[/mod]
 

Armand2REP

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R u educated or is Mr bharat verma ur relative?Get real.
He is only stating the status quo. The only way Pakistan will disintegrate is if the economy collapses. The people will get more amped up than even the Army could handle then. The way it looks now, the Army will continue to pay lip service to hunting down the Taliban while they will continue to be bombed. This war is killing foreign investment in Pak which will constantly drag the country back into recession. Pak will be able to survive if food prices don't go any higher. If there is a sudden shock in supply of necessities, it may just push the people over the edge. Pakistanis are not ones to sit and let injustice continue.
 
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He is only stating the status quo. The only way Pakistan will disintegrate is if the economy collapses. The people will get more amped up than even the Army could handle then. The way it looks now, the Army will continue to pay lip service to hunting down the Taliban while they will continue to be bombed. This war is killing foreign investment in Pak which will constantly drag the country back into recession. Pak will be able to survive if food prices don't go any higher. If there is a sudden shock in supply of necessities, it may just push the people over the edge. Pakistanis are not ones to sit and let injustice continue.
Im sorry but i dont know what relation does economy has with disintrigation.If this is true then all of countries who have been suffering bad economic situations would have been disintigrated,While u talk of armys Lip Sevice buddy i can only suggest to to see articles or news of NON indian or neutral sites like BBC OR CNN,may be u will believe them.About economy dude it is improving not very fast but slowly and steadily DAWN.COM | Business | Pakistan?s economy back on track, says Tarin..
 

mattster

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Im sorry but i dont know what relation does economy has with disintrigation.If this is true then all of countries who have been suffering bad economic situations would have been disintigrated,While u talk of armys Lip Sevice buddy i can only suggest to to see articles or news of NON indian or neutral sites like BBC OR CNN,may be u will believe them.About economy dude it is improving not very fast but slowly and steadily DAWN.COM | Business | Pakistan?s economy back on track, says Tarin..
:twizt:
I tend to agree with Viper about disintegration. It takes a tremendous confluence of catasthorphic bad events to cause big countries to disintegrate.

Even borderline failed states with completely busted economies rarely disintegrate. Disintegration of a state only occurs when it loses a war in which the victor then forces disintegration, or, if there are extremely strong separatist forces as seen in some countries like Yugoslavia, or even Iraq with the Kurds. Even then its still cant happen if the government is very strong.

Even the IRA which was really strong at one time was not able to take Ireland out of the UK.

In the case of Pakistan, the Baluch and Pakhtun separatism is not really that strong a movement and most of their grievances can be resolved with better revenue sharing agreements, development, more autonomy, etc.

I dont quite understand why all these American and other western think tanks keep coming up with this theory.
 

jakojako777

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I tend to agree with Viper about disintegration. It takes a tremendous confluence of catasthorphic bad events to cause big countries to disintegrate.

Even borderline failed states with completely busted economies rarely disintegrate. Disintegration of a state only occurs when it loses a war in which the victor then forces disintegration, or, if there are extremely strong separatist forces as seen in some countries like Yugoslavia, or even Iraq with the Kurds. Even then its still cant happen if the government is very strong.

Even the IRA which was really strong at one time was not able to take Ireland out of the UK.

In the case of Pakistan, the Baluch and Pakhtun separatism is not really that strong a movement and most of their grievances can be resolved with better revenue sharing agreements, development, more autonomy, etc.

I dont quite understand why all these American and other western think tanks keep coming up with this theory.


extremely strong separatist forces as seen in some countries like Yugoslavia


Extremely strong separatist forces as seen in Yugoslavia existed ONLY be cause of extremely strong presence of CIA, MI6 and German Secret Service to FINANCE, TRAIN and encourage in every possible way destruction of Yugoslavia.

The same thing USA are doing in Pakistan now be cause USA wants total control of the territory where pipelines with gas & oil from Caucasus will be built.

It has been more than year that this map is out on Internet (see FREE BALUCHISTAN !)




Orange line is pipeline of course !!
 

mehwish92

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R u educated or is Mr bharat verma ur relative?Get real.
i am simply saying what i believe is in india's interest. in my opinion, as long as pakistan exists, it will always be harmful for india.

i dont think pakistan is weak enough to disintegrate on its own. it is only possible with external interference.

pakistan is already trying its best to disintegrate india into many different states. if need be, why shouldn't india do the same?

we all want to live in peace, but at the end of the day we also have to guard our own interests and our sovereignty.
 

ppgj

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a letter....

To: Civilized Nation

Dear Civilized Nation

I am writing to you as I believe that you can play a very significant role in reshaping of the geography of South Asia in order to combat international terrorism. The entire terrorism network has been managed by terrorist forces stationed in Pakistan under the safe umbrella of Government of Pakistan. These terrorist forces have taken the shelter of Islamic identity in order to implement their dangerous designs of dominating South Asia and make it an Islamic territory altogether thereby driving out Christians, Hindus and Sikhs living in India. The ultimate scheme was first made during the lifetime of late General Zia-ul-Haq who can be termed as the main actor towards this direction. The said General Zia-ul-Haq took advantage of the then Afghan-Russian war and made it possible to develop a terrorist network in the region by sponsoring extremist Islamic groups and providing them all necessary military training and ammunition. The atomic program of Pakistan was also part of this endeavor. However, General Zia-ul-Haq died in a military plane crash in 1988 and there was the beginning of a new democratic era in Pakistan. But this democracy was itself fake in the sense that same old faces appeared to rule the country for their own monetary benefits. Consequently, Pakistan became yet another victim of terrorist forces which acted from the strong base of Pakistan Army which has been the main principal of all terrorism in the South Asia. It was Pakistan Army which does not want any peace in the region so as to keep the region under stress in general and to keep India being their hostile neighbor under a constant military threat.

The coming back of Pakistan Army in power through General Pervez Musharraf from the back doors on October 12, 1999 was yet another attempt to continue with the same old plan of Islamic domination in South Asia as masterminded by late General Zia-ul-Haq. This conspiracy had enjoyed assistance of China as China needed a strong Pakistan to keep an eye on India so that India should not become any problem for China in her traditional desire to win the regional supremacy which may pave way for her becoming another super war.

Pakistan is the central headquarters of all terrorist activities under the authoritative command of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) an organ of Pakistan Army who have been sheltering Islamic terrorists organizations in the country through military as well as financial support. Their objective is simple that is to rule the region under an Islamic system of their own brand and elimination of non-Muslim communities and culture. They believe that unless they use power they cannot fulfil their ambitions and as such they have found terrorism as the most convenient method for accomplishment of their political agenda. In order to promote this terrorism through religious recognition and some historic significance with a view to make it attractive for the youngsters, they misinterpreted the concept of Jihad (holy war) and since the Muslim masses living in that region are totally illiterate and ignorant about their own religion, they were misguided by the help of hypocrite Islamic scholars who motivated and induced the foolish young Muslims to fight against non-Muslims. These fools did not even think that if it was the question of Muslim and Non-Muslim, then they should also fight China being totally out of the religious orbit. But, in that case, their brains do not work because it is but China itself which is assisting the Pakistan Army in such activities. Hence, the entire phenomenon is not to propagate the Muslim beliefs but to conquer the whole world through the assistance of China. Pakistan right now is the puppet of China and therefore it has become inevitable to address this issue on top priority.

Chinese experts in connivance with the Pakistan Army have worked very intelligently to use the religion of Islam as a tool very useful to be used for extracting cheap fighting force in the name of holy war. On the other hand, the whole Pakistan Army getting salaries in millions of dollars per annum is not coming forward for this s-called Jihad simply for the reason that they know that it has nothing to do with any Jihad but to implement certain long-term political plans. It is, therefore, very essential to focus from a different angle without wasting any further time on Osama Bin Laden who is nobody but a well-trained puppet of Pakistan Army being used extensively for the purpose of masterminding the terrorist schemes and implementing them through the technical co-operation of Pakistan.

Inter Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) is the real government in Pakistan. In the present situation it is the ISI, which is devising the self-made covert policies for the Government and also ensuring its implementation. It is part of the ISI’s well-established policy to organize violent pro-Taliban protest demonstrations against the United States in the provinces of Sindh, Balochistan and NWFP (North West Frontier Province) and keep the province of Punjab away from these demonstrations and strikes. After the terrorist attacks of 11th September 2001, the United States and the international community declared in clear words that we would now see that “who stands with us or against us”. The United States and international community assured the Pakistani rulers that if they extend co-operation to United States and international community in the war against terrorism, Pakistan would get the legitimate fruits of such co-operation. After these assurances of the International Community, the ISI conspired to activate the religious and so-called Jihadi groups on their payroll to use the provinces of Sindh, Balochistan and NWFP (North-West Frontier Province) provinces as their battleground against United States and International Community. This conspiracy to use the minority provinces was aimed to give the United States of America and the International Community a completely wrong impression that people living in these provinces are against USA while the real situation is totally different. Pakistan Army through its terrorism network called ISI has made an attempt to tarnish the image of small provinces of present Pakistan on one hand and on the other to deceive USA and the International Community. It is a bitter truth that the province of Punjab is the hub of all the fanatical and so-called Jihadi groups and the Headquarters of all the fanatical and extremists groups are situated in different cities of the province of Punjab like Lahore, Multan, Jhang, Faisalabad and Nankana. The ISI’s “game” to deceive the United States and international community would not last long and this act of deception would reach to its logical conclusion. When that happens the world would know who actually benefited by deceiving others and who lost, whereas who was deceived by whom and who was hoodwinked.

It is not understandable as to why the Americans are not addressing the real issue. The real issue is Pakistan itself. In Pakistan, there is no religious disintegration right now. Rather all the religious groups are having mental equation when it is about the religion. There is no conflict among them if it is about Islam. Although they advocate a different Islam which was never the one introduced by Muhammad Bin Abdullah in Mecca some 1500 years ago, yet they are together under the supervision of ISI. ISI has sponsored this new brand of Islam with ulterior motives and to implement its hidden agenda. This new brand of Islam does not enjoy any recognition from the Muslims who really believe in Muhammad. It is indeed unfortunate that Islam has always been victimized throughout by the people who terms themselves as Muslims. Muhammad's Islam was hijacked even in his own lifetime when there were people who disliked Muhammad's relatives and wives. Such miscreants even accused Muhammad's wife Ayesha of adultery. People like Amir Mawiya hated Ali, the nephew of Muhammad so much so that Ali wrote to him several letters condemning Amir Mawiya to be a hypocrite. The revenge came exactly 50 years later when son of Amir Mawiya called Yazeed killed Hussain brutally who was the grand son of Muhammad and son of Ali at the place called Karbala (Iraq). The shia sect of Islam condemn this brutal murder of Hussain and do not recognize Ami Mawiya as Muslim for this arbitrary act of his son Yazeed. Today, Iran is the shia state while a large number of Shias live in Iraq also. It was one of the evil designs of late General Zia-ul-Haq that he made Pakistan a difficult place for shias and the formation of certain militant religious organizations was yet part of this plan. Today we have yet another Yazeed bin Amir Mawiya called Osama Bin Laden and several followers who have changed the very fabric of Islam in the new century. These are religious demons representing the Satan and not Islam.

It is, therefore, necessary to disintegrate Pakistan if we want to collapse the terrorists' network altogether. Unless we destroy the root cause of the whole terrorism tree, we will not be able to eliminate terrorism from the region which has been transformed into a centralized processing unit working under an integrated system not conveniently accessible unless Pakistan is divided in at least four parts. It is essential to divide the northern part of Pakistan into two countries that is Punjabistan and Pakhtoonistan. The Punjabistan will be on the eastern side and the present province of Punjab can be converted into Punjabistan while the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) having its borders with Afghanistan should be made another country called Pakhtoonistan. The new Pakhtoonistan will be a country loyal to the international comity of nations and shall not harbor any terrorists within its geography. Punjabistan shall not have any access to terrorist camps now being run by Pakistan Army in Afghanistan and NWFP as Pakhtoonistan will be a hurdle between Afghanistan and Punjabistan. The Pakistan Army mainly belongs to Punjab and hence the creation of Punjabistan and Pakhtoonistan will break the integrated network between Afghanistan and ISI (Pakistan Army).

On the southern part of Pakistan, two new countries Sindhudesh and Jinnahpur can be made. The Sindhudesh will comprise of Sindhis living in the province of Sindh while Jinnahpur will be a country to house the urdu speaking immigrants from India who had migrated from India after partition of 1947. The population of urdu speaking community living in Karachi (the main commercial city of Pakistan) is around 15 Million. This new country called Jinnahpur can be a secular state of its own kind. The idea is that some 10 million Christians from India may also voluntarily migrate to Jinnahpur to form a pure secular state in South Asia so as to keep a political balance in the region. In Karachi alone (which will be transformed into a new country called Jinnahpur), we can have as many churches as we want along with awarding rights of preaching Christianity and Islam in parallel terms. There will be no extra-ordinary religious resistance in Karachi for the sole reason that the new countries Pakhtoonistan and Punjabistan will have no immediate links with Jinnahpur and as such the terrorist network would not be effective at all. The preaching groups like Tablighi Jamaat (Muslim Preaching Organization based in Raiwind near Lahore-Pakistan) will no more be as effective as now after losing their linkage with their country-wide network. This linkage can only be broken through disintegration of Pakistan. The religious schools called Madressas will no longer be connected with each other. The so-called religious scholars will be confined to their own areas of birth and permanent residence and shall not freely move to other cities in the region presently called Pakistan. Jinnahpur will be a purely secular state with a significant Christian population. We can have permanent airbases of USA and other military set-ups in Jinnahpur to keep a sound military control in the region to safeguard the entire humanity from the threats of terrorism.

The geography of South Asia has to be revised to combat the terrorism and to prevent further loss of lives in the name of Jihad. The region has become very dangerous to spark 3rd world war and if not checked at this hour of need, country like Pakistan, which has attained nuclear technology due to assistance of China, can become dangerous for the whole humanity. Today we have some loyal people in Pakistan Army who would prefer to favor anti-terrorism drive initiated by the Americans. But what about the religious groups within Pakistan Army which are equally responsible in promotion of terrorism in the name of Islamic domination and are still busy to destabilize the international efforts towards the direction of elimination of terrorism altogether. How can such religious groups destroy their own puppet government called Taliban whom they helped right from its inception and are still harboring their leaders and terrorists like Osama Bin Laden. They may come into power and remove General Pervez Musharaf from his present status. What the Americans will do when a more religious-minded foolish army man captures power in Pakistan? Will they think of bringing back of democracy in Pakistan? It will be too late at that time. It is therefore better to act now.

Pakistan should be divided into four parts as immediately as possible under the supervision of United Nations in the best interest of humanity. This would not be any sort of denying any sovereign country of its right to exist. Pakistan is comprised of five nations and there is no problem in giving these nations their new countries to enable them to have a more realistic identity of their own. This is necessary to eliminate the roots of terrorism completely. This geo-political surgery has become inevitable to save the humanity from the cruel hands of terrorists who will come again to strike and they have no other place to hide and conspire but Pakistan.

I request the entire humanity to join me in this campaign of disintegrating Pakistan in the best interest of the whole humanity. If we break Pakistan today, we are disintegrating the entire terrorist network headquartered in Pakistan. This terrorist network works through a very technical integration in terms of Islamic militant groups, Islamic preaching organizations and Islamic schools called Madressas. A divided Pakistan will destroy the spinal cord of the terrorism and there will be no training camps, no more Osamas and no more threat to humanity.

Say YES to this petition and support international fight against terrorism and against those who harbor terrorists and their supporters. Disintegration of Pakistan will pave way to divide the forces busy to make new designs to conquer the world through terrorism. A divided Pakistan will bring peace to the region and shall facilitate destruction of terrorist training camps and elimination of terrorism altogether.
Also read http://www.PetitionOnline.com/MQM47/petition.html

SYED JAMALUDDIN
27 Marine Road, Apapa, GRA, Lagos-Nigeria
Tel: 234-1-7753108
Fax: 234-1-7594689
Mobile: 2348033087464
Voice mail: (847) 563-3001 x 7914
e-mail: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected];

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

DIVIDE PAKISTAN TO ELIMINATE TERRORISM Petition
 

Armand2REP

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Im sorry but i dont know what relation does economy has with disintrigation.If this is true then all of countries who have been suffering bad economic situations would have been disintigrated
You don't know how economic situations have disintegrated countries? How about USSR, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia? Economics is the underlying reason for most toppled governments. Why do you think China is so hellbent on double digit growth? If the people are starving, soldiers go unpaid, you get coups.

While u talk of armys Lip Sevice buddy i can only suggest to to see articles or news of NON indian or neutral sites like BBC OR CNN,may be u will believe them.
Really??

Pakistan crisis

The Pakistan military, which now effectively controls policy towards India and Afghanistan, shows no signs of giving up on the sanctuaries that the Afghan Taliban have acquired in Pakistan.

BBC News - Afghanistan and Pakistan face decisive year

About economy dude it is improving not very fast but slowly and steadily DAWN.COM | Business | Pakistan?s economy back on track, says Tarin..
Is that why Pakistan is begging for IMF loans? Is that why inflation is increasing from 9-11%
 

sob

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There is this article written in 2009 by Pervez Hoodbhoy an eminent academcian from Pakistan and a very respected figure.

The Saudi-isation of Pakistan

The common belief in Pakistan is that Islamic radicalism is a problem only in FATA, and that madrassas are the only institutions serving as jihad factories. This is a serious misconception. Extremism is breeding at a ferocious rate in public and private schools within Pakistan’s towns and cities. Left unchallenged, this education will produce a generation incapable of co-existing with anyone except strictly their own kind. The mindset it creates may eventually lead to Pakistan’s demise as a nation state.

For 20 years or more, a few of us have been desperately sending out SOS messages, warning of terrible times to come. In fact, I am surprised at how rapidly these dire predictions have come true.

A full-scale war is being fought in FATA, Swat and other “wild” areas of Pakistan, resulting in thousands of deaths. It is only a matter of time before this fighting shifts to Peshawar and Islamabad (which has already been a witness to the Lal Masjid episode) and engulfs Lahore and Karachi as well. The suicide bomber and the masked abductor have crippled Pakistan’s urban life and shattered its national economy.

Soldiers, policemen, factory and hospital workers, mourners at funerals and ordinary people praying in mosques have all been reduced to globs of flesh and fragments of bones. But, perhaps paradoxically, in spite of the fact that the dead bodies and shattered lives are almost all Muslim ones, few Pakistanis speak out against these atrocities. Nor do they approve of the army operation against the cruel perpetrators of these acts because they believe that they are Islamic warriors fighting for Islam and against American occupation. Political leaders like Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan have no words of solace for those who have suffered at the hands of Islamic extremists. Their tears are reserved exclusively for the victims of Predator drones, even if they are those who committed grave crimes against their own people. Terrorism, by definition, is an act only the Americans can commit.

What explains Pakistan’s collective masochism? To understand this, one needs to study the drastic social and cultural transformations that have rendered this country so completely different from what it was in earlier times.

For three decades, deep tectonic forces have been silently tearing Pakistan away from the Indian subcontinent and driving it towards the Arabian peninsula. This continental drift is not physical but cultural, driven by a belief that Pakistan must exchange its South Asian identity for an Arab-Muslim one. Grain by grain, the desert sands of Saudi Arabia are replacing the rich soil that had nurtured a magnificent Muslim culture in India for a thousand years. This culture produced Mughul architecture, the Taj Mahal, the poetry of Asadullah Khan Ghalib, and much more.

Now a stern, unyielding version of Islam (Wahhabism) is replacing the kinder, gentler Islam of the Sufis and saints who had walked on this land for hundreds of years.This change is by design.

Twenty-five years ago, the Pakistani state used Islam as an instrument of state policy. Prayers in government departments were deemed compulsory, floggings were carried out publicly, punishments were meted out to those who did not fast in Ramadan, selection for academic posts in universities required that the candidate demonstrate a knowledge of Islamic teachings and jihad was declared essential for every Muslim. Today, government intervention is no longer needed because of a spontaneous groundswell of Islamic zeal. The notion of an Islamic state – still in an amorphous and diffused form – is more popular now than ever before as people look desperately for miracles to rescue a failing state.

Villages have changed drastically; this transformation has been driven, in part, by Pakistani workers returning from Arab countries. Many village mosques are now giant madrassas that propagate hard-line Salafi and Deobandi beliefs through oversized loudspeakers. They are bitterly opposed to Barelvis, Shias and other sects, who they do not regard as Muslims. The Punjabis, who were far more liberal towards women than the Pukhtuns, are now beginning to take a line resembling that of the Taliban. Hanafi law has begun to prevail over tradition and civil law, as is evident from the recent decisions of the Lahore High Court.

In Pakistan’s lower-middle and middle classes lurks a grim and humourless Saudi-inspired revivalist movement that frowns on any and every expression of joy and pleasure. Lacking any positive connection to culture and knowledge, it seeks to eliminate “corruption” by regulating cultural life and seizing control of the education system.

Classical music is on its last legs in Pakistan; the sarangi and vichitraveena are completely dead,” laments Mohammad Shehzad, a music aficionado. Indeed, teaching music in public universities is violently opposed by students of the Islami Jamaat-e-Talaba at Punjab University. So the university has been forced to hold its music classes elsewhere. Religious fundamentalists consider music haram or un-Islamic. Kathak dancing, once popular with the Muslim elite of India, has few teachers left. Pakistan produces no feature films of any consequence. Nevertheless, the Pakistani elite, disconnected from the rest of the population, live their lives in comfort through their vicarious proximity to the West. Alcoholism is a chronic problem of the super rich of Lahore – a curious irony for this deeply religious country.

Islamisation of the state and the polity was supposed to have been in the interest of the ruling class – a classic strategy for preserving it from the wrath of the working class. But the amazing success of the state is turning out to be its own undoing. Today, it is under attack from religious militants, and rival Islamic groups battle each other with heavy weapons. Ironically, the same army – whose men were recruited under the banner of jihad, and which saw itself as the fighting arm of Islam – today stands accused of betrayal and is almost daily targeted by Islamist suicide bombers.

Pakistan’s self-inflicted suffering comes from an education system that, like Saudi Arabia’s system, provides an ideological foundation for violence and future jihadists. It demands that Islam be understood as a complete code of life, and creates in the mind of a school-going child a sense of siege and embattlement by stressing that Islam is under threat everywhere.

On the previous page, the reader can view the government-approved curriculum. This is the basic road map for transmitting values and knowledge to the young. By an act of parliament passed in 1976, all government and private schools (except for O-level schools) are required to follow this curriculum. It was prepared by the curriculum wing of the federal ministry of education, government of Pakistan. It sounds like a blueprint for a religious fascist state.

Alongside are scanned pictures from an illustrated primer for the Urdu alphabet. The masthead states that it has been prepared by Iqra Publishers, Rawalpindi, along “Islamic lines.” Although not an officially approved textbook, it is being used currently by some regular schools, as well as madrassas associated with the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), an Islamic political party that had allied itself with General Musharraf. These picture scans have been taken from a child’s book, hence the scribbles.

The world of the Pakistani schoolchild remained largely unchanged, even after September 11, 2001, the event that led to Pakistan’s timely desertion of the Taliban and the slackening of the Kashmir jihad. Indeed, for all his hypocritical talk of “enlightened moderation,” General Musharraf’s educational curriculum was far from enlightening. It was a slightly toned down version of the curriculum that existed under Nawaz Sharif which, in turn, was identical to that under Benazir Bhutto who had inherited it from General Zia-ul-Haq. Fearful of taking on the powerful religious forces, every incumbent government has refused to take a position on the curriculum and thus quietly allowed young minds to be moulded by fanatics. What may happen a generation later has always been a secondary issue for a government challenged on so many fronts.

The promotion of militarism in Pakistan’s so-called “secular” public schools, colleges and universities had a profound effect upon young minds. Militant jihad became part of the culture on college and university campuses. Armed groups flourished, they invited students for jihad in Kashmir and Afghanistan, set up offices throughout the country, collected funds at Friday prayers and declared a war which knew no borders. Pre-9/11, my university was ablaze with posters inviting students to participate in the Kashmir jihad. Post-2001, this ceased to be done openly.

Still, the primary vehicle for Saudi-ising Pakistan’s education has been the madrassa. In earlier times, these had turned out the occasional Islamic scholar, using a curriculum that essentially dates back to the 11th century, with only minor subsequent revisions. But their principal function had been to produce imams and muezzins for mosques, and those who eked out an existence as ‘maulvi sahibs’ teaching children to read the Quran.

The Afghan jihad changed everything. During the war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, madrassas provided the US-Saudi-Pakistani alliance the cannon fodder they needed to fight a holy war. The Americans and Saudis, helped by a more-than-willing General Zia, funded new madrassas across the length and breadth of Pakistan. A detailed picture of the current situation is not available. But according to the national education census, which the ministry of education released in 2006, Punjab has 5,459 madrassas followed by the NWFP with 2,843; Sindh has 1,935; the Federally Administrated Northern Areas (FANA), 1,193; Balochistan, 769; Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), 586; the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA), 135; and the Islamabad capital territory, 77. The ministry estimates that 1.5 million students are acquiring religious education in the 13,000 madrassas.

These figures appear to be way off the mark. Commonly quoted figures range between 18,000 and 22,000 madrassas. The number of students could be correspondingly larger. The free boarding and lodging plus provision of books to the students, is a key part of their appeal. Additionally, parents across the country desire that their children be “disciplined” and given a thorough Islamic education. The madrassas serve this purpose, too, exceedingly well.

Madrassas have deeply impacted the urban environment. Until a few years ago, Islamabad was a quiet, orderly, modern city different from the rest of Pakistan. Also, it had largely been the abode of Pakistan’s elite and foreign diplomats. But the rapid transformation of its demography brought with it hundreds of mosques with multi-barrelled audio-cannons mounted on minarets, as well as scores of madrassas illegally constructed in what used to be public parks and green areas. Now, tens of thousands of their students, sporting little prayer caps, dutifully chant the Quran all day. In the evenings they swarm the city, making women minus the hijab increasingly nervous.

Total segregation of the sexes is a central goal of the Islamists, the consequences of which have been catastrophic. For example, on April 9, 2006, 21 women and eight children were crushed to death and scores injured in a stampede inside a three-storey madrassa in Karachi, where a large number of women were attending a weekly congregation. Male rescuers, who arrived in ambulances, were prevented from moving the injured women to hospitals.

One cannot dismiss this incident as being just one of a kind. In fact, soon after the October 2005 earthquake, as I walked through the destroyed city of Balakot, a student of the Frontier Medical College described to me how he and his male colleagues were stopped by religious elders from digging out injured girl students from under the rubble of their school building. This action was similar to that of Saudi Arabia’s ubiquitous religious ‘mutaween’ (police) who, in March 2002, had stopped school girls from leaving a blazing building because they were not wearing their abayas – a long robe worn in Saudi Arabia. In a rare departure from the norm, Saudi newspapers had blamed and criticised the mutaween for letting 15 girls burn to death.

The Saudi-isation of a once-vibrant Pakistani culture continues at a relentless pace. The drive to segregate is now also being found among educated women. Vigorous proselytisers carrying this message, such as Mrs Farhat Hashmi, have been catapulted to the heights of fame and fortune. Their success is evident. Two decades back, the fully veiled student was a rarity on Pakistani university and college campuses. The abaya was an unknown word in Urdu. Today, some shops across the country specialise in abayas. At colleges and universities across Pakistan, the female student is seeking the anonymity of the burqa. And in some parts of the country she seems to outnumber her sisters who still “dare” to show their faces.
I have observed the veil profoundly affect habits and attitudes. Many of my veiled female students have largely become silent note-takers, are increasingly timid and seem less inclined to ask questions or take part in discussions. They lack the confidence of a young university student.

While social conservatism does not necessarily lead to violent extremism, it does shorten the distance. The socially conservative are more easily convinced that Muslims are being demonised by the rest of the world. The real problem, they say, is the plight of the Palestinians, the decadent and discriminatory West, the Jews, the Christians, the Hindus, the Kashmir issue, the Bush doctrine – the list runs on. They vehemently deny that those committing terrorist acts are Muslims, and if presented with incontrovertible evidence, say it is a mere reaction to oppression.

The immediate future does not appear hopeful: increasing numbers of mullahs are creating cults around themselves and seizing control of the minds of worshippers. In the tribal areas, a string of new Islamist leaders have suddenly emerged: Baitullah Mehsud, Maulana Fazlullah and Mangal Bagh. Poverty, deprivation, lack of justice and extreme differences of wealth provide the perfect environment for these demagogues to recruit people to their cause. Their gruesome acts of terror are still being perceived by large numbers of Pakistanis merely as a war against imperialist America. This could not be further from the truth.

In the long term, we will have to see how the larger political battle works out between those Pakistanis who want an Islamic theocratic state and those who want a modern Islamic republic. It may yet be possible to roll back those Islamist laws and institutions that have corroded Pakistani society for over 30 years and to defeat its hate-driven holy warriors. There is no chance of instant success; perhaps things may have to get worse before they get better. But, in the long term, I am convinced that the forces of irrationality will cancel themselves out because they act at random whereas reason pulls only in one direction. History leads us to believe that reason will triumph over unreason, and the evolution of the humans into a higher and better species will continue. Using ways that we cannot currently anticipate, they will somehow overcome their primal impulses of territoriality, tribalism, religiosity and nationalism. But, for now, this must be just a matter of faith.[/QUOTE]

The author teaches physics at Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad
 

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